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17 February 2009

Autism and Vaccination

[I originally posted this blog on Friday 22 August 2008 on MySpace. I'm reposting it here as part of "Brad's Greatest Hits" and in coordination with the recent ruling by a special court that there are no proven links between autism and vaccines.]

There is no evidence that vaccines have any link whatsoever to the incidence of autism. That is not to say definitively that vaccines cannot contribute to the onset of autistic symptoms—although that is certainly the conclusion that the current science leads educated people to make. However, even if there is a link between vaccines and autism, the risks associated with the infections against which vaccines offer protection far outweigh any potential risk of acquiring autism. Put another way, going unimmunized, your kid is far and away more likely to die from a disease like measles than to suffer from autism.

Moreover, immunizations are not only for the protection of individual children but serve the larger purpose of protecting populations. Diseases are social phenomena. They are spread through contact between people. This is a fact often forgotten since today's parents have not experienced the widespread effects of now-controlled diseases that, just one or two generations ago, ravaged society. Choosing not to immunize one's child is not an individual choice, the repercussions of which are isolated to disparate families, but in fact, such selfish decisions have the potential to affect countless numbers of others and are, thus, immoral.

If you have children or someday plan to have children, please be rational and avoid the myopic ignorance that seems to be growing in this country. It is not just your offspring you are putting at risk; there are untold others.

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